Can North America Perform Internationally?
With Team Liquids exit from the 2018 Mid Season Invitational, North America fails once again to place anywhere near the top of the standings. The four teams representing “The Old Guard” have all had their shot at representing NA in worlds and MSI. TSM has consistently underperformed in relatively easier groups, CLG has given too many games away to wildcard regions, C9 has not made it past quarterfinals, and TL has proven to be unready to face international competition. Looking forward to worlds this year, North America and Vietnam will have their 3rd and 1st representative in the Play-Ins stage. This does not bode well as every year the wildcard regions are rapidly climbing to the level of the major regions.
The question lies in what teams do we think will represent us at worlds? A large factor comes from the 8.10 patch that was just released. The jungle changes seem to push tanks out of the meta and rely more on duelists and early ganking champions. Champions like Graves, Xin Zhao, and Trundle have been pushing the solo queue meta games to shorter and more scrappy styles. Top lane has become more about duelists than tanks, barring Ornn, and the changes to Summoner’s Spellbook is leading many people to substitute Teleport for Ignite during laning phase. Lastly, ranged supports are flourishing and crowding out the likes of Braum, Alistar and Tahm Kench. These aggressive tendencies fit few teams at the moment. 100 Thieves can finally unlock Ssumday in the top lane; however the farming style of Meteos and engage-oriented aphromoo may stumble. CLG’s aggressive split push strategies may come back into effect as Darshan will not have to play the likes of Cho’Gath and Sion constantly. Echo Fox will seek revenge with all five of their players being very aggressive, boasting some of the highest forward percentages in the game. Wildcards like OpTic and Golden Guardians may have a chance at redemption with the extreme changes to the early game. We will have to see which teams can adapt and take the easier wins in the early season. The NALCS Summer Split starts June 16th and it will be an explosive start to see who can claim a spot at Worlds.